The largest applications for metallic antimony are as alloying material for lead and tin and for lead antimony plates in lead-acid batteries. Alloying lead and tin with antimony improves the properties of the alloys which are used in solders, bullets and plain bearings. Antimony compounds are prominent additives for chlorine- and bromine-containing fire retardants found in many commercial and domestic products. An emerging application is the use of antimony in microelectronics. Antimony is sometimes found natively, but more frequently it is found in the sulfide stibnite (Sb2S3) which is the predominant ore mineral.

Stibnite - Sb2S3

China is the world's largest producer and exporter of antimony, accounting for 80 percent of the world's total. China's annual production capacity is approximately 80,000 tons. The Chinese company, which operates the single largest primary antimony mine in the world, is Hunan Nonferrous Metals, which is listed on the Hong Kong Exchange as Hunan Nonferrous Metals Corporation Ltd (HKG:2626).

RankCountryWorld Mine Production, By Country in 2009 (Metric tons, antimony content unless otherwise specified)
2Russian Federation3,5003500
4South Africa2,8002800
Year of Estimate: 2009

Antimony is at the top of the 2011 list of supply risk elements according to the British Geological Survey

Antimony mining in Africa

South Africa

Antimony is hosted in the Early Archean Murchison greenstone belt, making Consolidated Murchison deposit, the oldest known antimony deposit in the world as all the other known deposits are hosted in younger rocks. Stibnite is the main ore mineral, and there is also significant gold mineralization. Zones of gold bearing stibnite are usually contained in quartz-carbonate schists, chert and fuchsite-rich quartz-muscovite schists. The ore can be massive, disseminated or within coarsely-crystalline quartz-carbonate veins. Some of the associated minerals are berthierite, pyrite, arsenopyrite, gersdorffite, ullmanite and visible gold. Approximately two-thirds of the known and exploited gold deposits at Consolidated Murchison were from quartz veins, while the remainder is associated with banded iron-formations.
  • Metorex Ltd operated the Consolidated Murchison mine which produces about 4% of world production. Reserves in 2006, proved and probable, were 1,285,446 tonnes grading 1,85% Sb and 2,25 g/t Au. In March 2011, Village Main Reef finalised the purchase of, 74% of Cons Murch. Together with antimony, the mine produces gold from its three operating shafts, Athens, Monarch and Beta. The mine has a 1.3 million ounce equivalent gold deposit. Ore is mined by sublevel open stoping and is hoisted from three shafts, namely Athens, Monarch and Beta. Once the ore is crushed and milled, an antimony concentrate is produced by flotation. Gold is recovered in a gravity circuit and a number of leach and carbon absorption stages. The concentrate is dried and bagged.

Zimbabwe used to produce antimony as a by-product of its gold mining operations.